The first ever forklift simulator has been developed in the US and the hope is that it will improve forklift safety and help to save the lives of workers.
The 3D Forklift Trainer has been created by Tactus Technologies and it gives a realistic option for trainee forklift drivers to improve and test their driving skills in an effort to reduce forklift related workplace injuries and fatalities..
The program is actually called the 3D Forklift trainer and people that use it can practice diving a forklift using a system that is similar to a video game using a steering wheel, joy stick, pedals and operate in environments like warehouses, elevators and rail yards.
The experts at http://phys.org/ had this to say about the system:
The simulator arose from a need to improve operator readiness, said Jim Mayrose, chief executive officer and co-founder of Tactus, which is a spinoff company from the University at Buffalo.
According to Occupational Safety and Health and Administration (OSHA) standards, improper forklift operations cause roughly 100 fatalities and more than 100,000 injuries annually in the United States.
“Until recently, such virtual reality technologies were only available to military and university laboratories,” said Thenkurussi “Kesh” Kesavadas, Tactus co-founder and UB professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.
“By pioneering the use of gaming technology and computers in our software, we are able to offer the 3D forklift simulator at a low and reasonable cost for industrial safety training.”
Kesavadas is also director of the UB Virtual Reality Lab. Current training typically involves a combination of classroom-based lectures, videos and observation before “on-the-job training” propels operators into the driver’s seat. “The problem is that this type of training is passive rather than interactive,” Mayrose said.
Created with a grant from the National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health, the simulator incorporates safety lessons aligned with OSHA standards. Lesson plans require reacting to safety challenges – such as ramps, elevators and people – that reinforce the use of correct techniques. Personal profiles track trainee progress and evaluate performance.
On average, it takes three to four hours to complete the simulator program. “Companies using our product will find that they have shorter training cycles with less supervision needed and, most importantly, a safer environment,” Mayrose said. Customers will receive a full license for the 3D Forklift Trainer software, a customized computer, as well as a steering wheel and pedals. A 60-inch screen and specialized forklift-type seating is optional.
A commercial version of the trainer, which features a standard warehouse environment, is also available. The program may be customized so that the environment matches that of the company. It is available to companies of all sizes, with the first installation site at the Cummins engine plant in Jamestown.
Forklift safety is very important especially when a forklift can potentially interact with pedestrians or members of the public.
Anyone that is operating a forklift must possess the correct licence and be properly supervised to minimise the possibility of a workplace accident.